Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lancair 320, N670BS: Fatal accident occurred February 24, 2021 in Ataltoffshore Boca Raton, Florida

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

Location: Atlantic Ocean, AO
Accident Number: ERA21LA141
Date & Time: February 24, 2021, 11:04 Local 
Registration: N670BS
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 24, 2021, about 1104 eastern standard time, about 16 nautical miles southeast of Boca Raton, Florida, radar contact was lost with an experimental amateur-built Lancair 320, N670BS. The airplane was presumed to have impacted the Atlantic Ocean and to have sustained substantial damage, and the pilot was presumed to be fatally injured. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane departed DeLand Municipal Airport (DED), DeLand Florida about 0949 and flew southeast toward Boca Raton Airport (BCT), Boca Raton, Florida. A review of audio recordings provided by the FAA revealed the pilot contacted the BCT air traffic control tower when the airplane was about 10 miles northwest of the airport. The pilot reported that the airplane was at an altitude of 2,400 ft mean sea level (msl), with intentions to land at BCT. The controller instructed the pilot to report a left downwind for runway 5, and the pilot acknowledged the instruction. No further communications were recorded from the pilot, or from the controller to the pilot. The airplane entered the BCT class D airspace from the northwest as it descended through 1,700 ft msl. It continued to track toward the southeast and passed BCT before exiting the Class D airspace about 1 mile east of the coastline from Lake Boca Raton at an altitude of about 1,100 ft msl. The airplane continued to descend on its southeast heading until track data was lost at 1104:02, about 16 nautical miles southeast of BCT at an altitude of about 100 ft msl and a groundspeed of about 155 knots (see figure 1). 

Figure 1 - The airplane’s radar-derived ground track (depicted in yellow) as it flew through the BCT class D airspace (orange) southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean.

Family members of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the FAA on February 26, 2021, after which the FAA issued an alert notification and coordinated with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and the U.S. Coast Guard for search and rescue efforts. A search was initiated by the U.S. Coast Guard, which was suspended on February 28, 2021. The airplane and pilot were not found.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: STEINMAN MARK E 
Registration: N670BS
Model/Series: LANCAIR 320 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BCT,16 ft msl 
Observation Time: 10:47 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 90°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: DeLand, FL (DED)
Destination: Boca Raton, FL (BCT)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 26.178064,-79.920067 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

BOCA RATON — Wednesday will mark three weeks since an 87-year-old Boca Raton pilot went missing at sea, and with no agency stepping forward to investigate, the disappearance likely will remain a mystery.

The fact no agency is currently investigating how the pilot, Brendan Spratt, went missing concerned aviation experts. They say agencies usually at least try to piece together what happened in such cases.

“You can interview witnesses,” said Jeffrey Guzetti, a former air safety investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Security Board. “You can look at any kind of aircraft documents that might have been left behind. You can get weather information, and you open up a file and put a case number on it.”

Disappearing off the coast

The FAA says it lost track of the pilot, Brendan Spratt, about 17 miles southeast of Boca Raton last month. Spratt was returning home from a trip in northern Florida on Feb. 24 when aviation officials say Spratt and his 1991 Lancair 320 plane dropped off the radar.

Spratt’s pilot’s license was revoked by the FAA in 2015. The agency wouldn’t say why, but he was prohibited by law from flying ever since.

When he vanished, a search at sea kicked off: The Coast Guard scoured about 16,000 square miles from Miami to Fort Pierce, but never found any debris. The FAA and NTSB each told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that there would be no inquiry underway unless plane wreckage were retrieved.

Representatives from five other agencies all said they, too, are not investigating, given the disappearance wasn’t in their jurisdiction.

It would be helpful for there to be an investigation, even if the case ultimately remains unsolved, Guzetti said. He said he was shocked to see that the Boca man had no pilot’s license or medical certificate.

A spokeswoman for the Boca Raton Airport — Spratt’s apparent destination, where he owns a hangar — said air traffic in and out of the airport is handled by the FAA, not the airport authority. An FAA spokeswoman said Monday that FAA air traffic controllers had no contact with Spratt before his disappearance.

Longtime pilot

Spratt has been flying his whole life. He learned to fly as a young man, went on to invent numerous airplane safety devices, managing a team of airplane engineers and built his own plane, which he’s flown for 30 years.

While the pilot’s discipline records were not immediately available, he did have one notable run-in with federal officials years ago.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, where Spratt visited frequently, said the only report they have mentioning him is from 2013, where he was accused of violating the airspace of Air Force One, when then-President Barack Obama was on board, enroute to West Palm Beach.

Spratt was detained upon landing, but nothing more apparently came from that encounter with the Secret Service.

Brendan Spratt


  1. No ADS-B data showing up for the accident day. Most recent track on Adsbexchange was July 20, 2020. Boca to Deland on 17th, back home 20th. Did that round trip pattern to Deland monthly January to July.

    July 20, 2020 example (Interesting that it is ADS-R data mode):

    1. Yes. He made that flight regularly. On the 24th he left Deland headed to Boca. Reports that his plane went down on Friday are incorrect. Boca airport screwed up and nobody reported this until his son went to the airport on Friday when he realized his dad didn't come home.

  2. Mr. Spratt's history from the local newspaper includes the remarkable determination to run his 13th Boston Marathon 25 days after undergoing the second angioplasty in five months to correct a 90 percent blocked artery to his heart back in 1991. He ran it the next year as well.

    "If the old Grim Reaper is out there, he has to wear Nikes," Spratt said.
    "I'm not going to sit in a chair and wait for him."

    Links to those articles:
    1991 Marathon:
    1992 Marathon:
    1986, running 100 miles a week:

  3. No further update? You know... when I'm almost 90 I hope I'm smart enough to choose the things that I'm doing wisely. Preferably earlier. Then again... maybe this is how he decided to go... become one with the fishes...

    1. Unfortunately it was not his "decision". When he communicated to the Boca airport that he needed to come in, he should have been given priority.

  4. Old proverb say: "Choose the thing you love, and let it kill you." Who among us hasn't cringed while visiting a nursing home?

    1. "Old proverb say: "Choose the thing you love, and let it kill you." Who among us hasn't cringed while visiting a nursing home?"

      I bet if he knew he would not make it back that day, he would have thought twice about going. Of course, we really can't know for certain when our time is going to be up. However, I do not believe anyone really wants to die doing what they love. That is assuming they are mentally stable.

  5. His age justifies some suspicion but it does not in itself mean he was not competent enough to fly. I knew a guy that was still flying at 96 (a piper cub). Best not to be so judgemental based on one fact alone. We most likely will never know what happened.

    1. FAA medical requirements for people with heart conditions can shut down flying early for otherwise competent pilots. His running in marathons presumably gave AME's less concern about approving medicals in those years.

      Flight track recordings for his trips to Deland show departing and arriving along a path Northwest of Boca. If he had a medical incapacitation while coming home after making the turn toward KBCT on Friday, the Southeast location offshore makes sense.

      ADS-B data not consistently seeing the aircraft doesn't mean no flights. FAA SWIM saw him go Northwest from Boca on 12/27/2020: shows his initial registration of the Lancair as March of 2000. There was a 2009 nose gear failure to extend incident (low hydraulic pressure) while on a flight from Boca Raton to Deland.

      The FAA Airmen Registry currently returns a listing for his name and address that states no medical info, no certificate. After reading about his 1990 and 1991 marathons after angioplasty, some pause for reflection there on a life lived without surrendering to limitations.

    2. His age justifies more then suspicion because...

      BRENDAN J SPRATT 87 years old

      Medical Information:
      No Medical Information Available


      No medical and no pilot certificate??? Hum???????????
      FAA Database

  6. Why was he told he couldn't land and was kept in a holding pattern for an hour ? There is no way this was pilot error.

  7. Why did boca keep him in a holding pattern for an hour?

    1. Is there a link to your source of information stating he was in a holding pattern?

    2. That is what his son was told. He also radioed in that he had to come in. Boca airport messed up big time and the FAA says no investigation without a plan, so I guess they get away with murder.

    3. NTSB on twitter states they are investigating. He was in a busy area with PBI and FLL adjacent. Lots of comm and radar recordings available to aid in reconstruction of the flight profile.

      Coast Guard statement about being notified by AFRCC of the downed Lancair, which indicates that the ELT was detected:

    4. Also it is my understanding that he flew home on Wednesday the 24th, how come They didn't start searching for him until Friday the 26th?

    5. He flew back to boca on Wednesday not Friday. His plane went down on Wednesday. How come nobody did anything until Friday? That had to have know his plane was no longer on their radar. How come he wasn't given priority when he communicated he needed Come in? Boca airport is trying to cover up their mistakes.

    6. The son expected a Wednesday flight from Spruce Creek to Boca based on Tuesday's conversation. Pilot may or may not have flown that day.

      Friday's detection of N670BS's Emergency Locator Transmitter signal at a location offshore of Boca Raton triggered the search on Friday.

      N670BS's Emergency Locator Transmitter signal was detected on Friday because that was when the airplane went into the water. The Lancair was not floating for two days before the ELT signal was detected.

      Regardless of the pilot's availability by cell phone between Tuesday night and Friday morning, the aircraft did not crash until Friday, as indicated by the ELT signal.

  8. "N670BS's Emergency Locator Transmitter signal was detected on Friday because that was when the airplane went into the water."

    Well, that's not what the ASIAS Report says. It says accident happened Wednesday
    February 24th at 16:04 UTC.
    Apparently there is some misinformation going around,P96_MAKE_NAME,P96_FATAL_FLG:01-MAR-21,LANCAIR

    1. LOL! - The AFRCC AND the Coast Guard are obviously part of some devious plot, contradicting the FAA ASIAS data entry clerk in an epic struggle for power. Coast Guard stated in their press release:

      "Air Force Rescue Coordination Center personnel alerted District Seven watchstanders Friday at approximately 11:30 a.m., regarding a downed aircraft, described as a Lancair 320, with at least one person aboard approximately 15 miles southeast of Boca Raton."

      If monitoring ELT signals and alerting SAR includes a two day delay between ELT signal and SAR callout, it's time to defund NOAA/AFRCC's monitoring effort. Always wondered why there is no public lookup for AFRCC notifications like there is for NOTAMS.

      See the press release firsthand at:

  9. because he was visiting a family member of mine. I KNOW he took off from the DeLand airport an the 24th and was in Boca around 12:30 p.m. and was put in a holding pattern for over an hour and he reported that he needed to come in. the coast guard was only notified because the son showed up at the airport asking questions, so then they had to do something. somebody made a mistake and needs to own up to it so friends and family can begin the grieving process.

  10. Unfortunately, It seems to be the lack of the pilot to take "command" of the situation
    If he needed to "come in that badly" especially after such a long delay, then He should have declared an Emergency, or chosen to go to one of the many other airports in the area. My guess is he wanted to wait it out because if he declared an emergency there would be paperwork to fill out. Paperwork means license and medical info, which he apparently he did not have.

    County: PALM BEACH
    Country: USA

    Medical Information:

    No Medical Information Available



    1. You are right he is not a fan of paperwork. But your Information that he did not have a license is incorrect.

  11. Straight from the FAA Database Look it up

  12. The Truth of the matter is that Bica is a small busy airport and he was in a small plane and they forgot about him. His plane went down on Wednesday and they did nothing until Friday when his son showed up asking questions. They need to be held accountable.

    1. Brendan left Spruce Creek on Wednesday after visiting friends. There's a two day delay in search efforts.

  13. With the FAA FSDO's asias entry showing a Wednesday crash and the news reporting on the son checking the home and hangar, it is possible that the AFRCC initiated the Friday SAR efforts based not on detected ELT, but from a FAA generated ALNOT that resulted after the son's inquiry.

    Posting comments based on the pilot "visiting a family member of mine" can distort the story. FAA tells the son something, son then tells the family member, who then tells the poster, who posts a version. Resembles the game of "telephone".

    Let the investigation process work through the details.

  14. Follow-up news report has since come out.

    March 15 story reports officials stating no investigation unless wreckage is found, and that FAA air traffic controllers had no contact with Spratt before his disappearance. Includes report of 2015 license revocation, no explanation given.

    Maybe no NTSB report will be created after all.

  15. NTSB preliminary report is out. Seems the BCT tower controller missed noticing the overshoot beyond BCT as he flew through from NW to SE after instructing the pilot to report a left downwind for runway 5, with pilot acknowledging.

    The "holding pattern for over an hour" story isn't true, but it does look like controllers did not pay attention to his track after establishing contact.